Dallastown resident wins WeightWatchers Leader of the Year Award

This photo of Maria Brydels, 50, of Dallastown was taken before she joined WeightWatchers. Before reaching her 40s, she never had a weight problem. So when she started gaining weight, she didn’t know where to start. (Submitted)

More than three years ago, Maria Brydels was in the same boat as many people who join WeightWatchers.

She wanted to lose weight.

“I didn’t even know where to begin,” she said, adding that she never had a weight problem.

The 50-year-old Dallastown resident has come a long way. Brydels — who now leads meetings — recently received the Jean Nidetch Leader of the Year Award, an honor that’s given to roughly 15 WeightWatchers leaders in the country.

She uses her own experience with the program to motivate others.

Brydels said she started gaining weight about 10 years ago after moving to York County from her hometown of St. Louis, Mo. She missed her family and friends, so she and her husband entertained a lot to meet new people. A medication she was taking and aging also played a role in her weight gain.

She first learned about portion control.

“I would eat because it tasted good, and I liked it,” Brydels said.

Through the program, she learned she didn’t have to cut out foods she loves — pasta and chocolate.

She lost weight slowly, but the more weight she lost, the more confident she became. She also learned a lot about herself.

Maria Brydels, right, recently attended a dedication ceremony for the Jean Nidetch Center in New York, where she met WeightWatchers spokesperson Jennifer Hudson. Nidetch founded WeightWatchers 50 years ago.

“I didn’t realize how unhappy I was until I lost the weight,” Brydels said. “It just radiates — the confidence that you have.”

She lost 43 pounds and has maintained that weight for almost three years. Along with leading meetings, she also still attends meetings to stay on track. She still logs points.

Brydels said she was thrilled to win the award and that she feels elevated to a new level. She hopes to uplift the people who attend her meetings, the way leaders uplifted her.

“If I can do it, anybody can do it,” she said. “Because I’m not a dieter.”

Meet Brydels
Age: 50
Lives in: Dallastown
Family: Husband, Douglas; son, Nicholas; daughter, Anna
Occupation: WeightWatchers meeting leader,
Hobbies: Martial arts, Zumba, bunco and traveling

If you go

Want to attend one of Brydels’s meetings?

When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: 351 Loucks Road, West Manchester Township

When: 10 a.m. Tuesday
Where: Hampton Inn, 1000 Far Hills Drive, New Freedom

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: York Jewish Community Center, 2000 Hollywood Drive, York Township

When: 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Red Lion Senior Center, 20 Gotham Drive, Red Lion

About Leigh Zaleski

I'm a health features reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News and healthy living blogger for No Sweat, York. Contact me with story ideas at lzaleski@ydr.com, 717-771-2101 or @leighzaleski on Twitter.
This entry was posted in Diets, Fitness, Nutrition, Weight loss, Wellness and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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